When using CC3+, you may have encountered symbols with behavior, like houses that aligns to and offsets from the wall and doors that align to, resizes themselves to match and cut holes in dungeon walls. These are what CC3+ calls smart symbols. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these symbols and we’ll have a look at how to make our own smart symbols. I’ll be using DD3 here, but this functionality is not restricted to DD3, and can be used in any kind of map CC3+ can produce.

Try it out

Before making our own smart symbols, to see the existing ones in use, try out how dungeon door reacts to differently sized walls. Start with a new small DD3 dungeon, draw a wall using the wall drawing tool (I recommend you right-click Default Wall and pick a nice looking one) at any angle. Then, make sure Snap (bottom right corner) is turned off and then pick any door from the Wall features catalog and hover the cursor over the wall. The door symbol should rotate to match the angle of the wall, and once you click, you’ll notice that it actually cuts the wall where it places the door. These are two of the features of smart symbols, aligning to existing entities and cutting lines.

This article is also available in a video version.

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In CC3+, each template is designed for a single style, which comes with it’s own symbols, fills and tools, while the resources belonging to other styles are not directly visible in the GUI.

This is intended behavior, because it puts the chosen style in focus. You know that all the elements you are being offered are designed to work with that style and fit with the visual design of the style. This behavior is both a blessing and a curse. Keeping the focus on the style is good. If you own everything, you’ll have about 40.000 different raster symbols (and a lot of vector symbols too, but I don’t have the count), you really don’t want to filter through all of these all the time when working on your map to find the ones matching your current map style, that’s just hugely impractical. But every now and then you want to be able to mix map styles, and you know of a couple of styles that work very well together. How can you easily access all the symbols from these styles?

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One of the features for CC3+ symbol catalogs is the ability to arrange these into groups, and then set this group to place random symbols from the group, or apply random transformations to them, like rotations or minor scaling to give variety to otherwise identical symbols.

But, what if you are making a particular map, and you need some other kind of grouping? For example, when placing trees you want to randomly place Decid, Pine and Jungle trees among each other? There are no predefined group like this in most symbol catalogs. Well, for that you can quite easily set up your own personal random collection just for the current map (or you can save it into a symbol catalog if you want it available later).

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Remy Monsen has published two new video tutorials on creating your own symbols in CC3+ on his own YouTube channel.

Symbols – Part 1: Finding and Preparing Images

Symbols – Part 2: Creating a Symbol Catalog

In my previous installment of this series, I talked about, among other things, composite symbols made up from multiple raster images. This is cool and all, but it raises one interesting question; what about effects? When you place a symbol, all parts of that symbol is grouped together into one entity, which lives on a single sheet.

If you make a symbol that contains a small cottage, with a tree and a few bushes outside, you’ll probably want different shadow lengths on each of these components. But, to do that, you need different sheets, right?

This is where multi-sheet symbols come in. Basically, a multi-sheet symbol is a symbol that gets split into multiple symbols when you place it, thereby putting each component of the symbol on the appropriate sheet. This may sound a bit like exploding a symbol, but with multi-sheet symbols, it is the designer of the symbol that decides which sheet each part should go on without any manual intervention from the symbol user.

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What is a symbol really?

One common way to look at symbols is to separate them into raster and vector symbols, where a raster symbol is a png image file on disk, while a vector symbol is built from regular CC3+ shapes. While there is truth in this, it is also an oversimplification.

If we look at things from the perspective of CC3+, there is no difference between these, it is just a symbol either way, and is treated exactly the same. And all of this becomes evident when we look at what a symbol really is.

If we go back in time, Campaign Cartographer didn’t have symbols at all (at least not as we know them today), it had parts. Put simply, a part is a CC drawing, which you can insert into another drawing. Being an actual drawing, it could contain everything a regular drawing could. It is from this concept of insertable parts that symbols arose. Just as with parts, a symbol is just an ordinary CC drawing that can contain (almost) all the features of a normal drawing. One of the main differences between symbols and parts is that one file can contain many symbols, allowing for the symbol catalogs we use today, while parts must be one file per part. (Also note that a symbol catalog file is just a standard map file with a different file extension, there is no difference in the file format at all.) You know the symbols that show up in the symbol catalog window if you click the Symbols in Map button? Those are the same symbols which would be available to other drawings if you loaded the current map up in the symbol catalog window while working on another map). Another big difference between symbols and parts is that when you use symbols, the symbol definition is stored exactly once in the drawing, and each placement of the symbol in the map just reference that definition, while when you insert a part, the entities in the part are simply being inserted into the drawing each time.

So, where am I going with this? Well, as you probably already know, in CC3+ you can use Draw –> Insert File to insert different things into your drawing, one of the possibilities being an image file in png format. Doing this simply inserts a picture entity into the drawing. A picture entity is one of the standard entities in CC3+, just like a line, a polygon or so on, the difference is obviously that it references an external image on disk. And this is exactly what a raster symbol is, it is a standard symbol that happen to include a picture entity. One interesting fact about how this is done is that you could insert images into your maps all the way back in CC2, so technically you could have raster symbols in CC2, even if it wasn’t officially added until CC3 (CC3 improved the functionality a lot though, such as support for transparency, the png format, variable resolution, varicolor and much more) Continue reading »

Accompanying CC3+ and it’s addons are a host of different symbols, all arranged neatly into symbol catalogs. These catalogs are arranged by map type, map style, and symbol theme/content. For example, there is one symbol catalog containing structure symbols from the Mike Schley Overland style, while a completely different symbol catalog contains furniture symbols from the standard DD3 dungeon style. Generally, these catalogs are arranged in such a way that clicking the various symbol catalog buttons (the toolbar right above your mapping area) loads different symbol catalogs relevant to the current map type and style. And if you need a symbol catalog from a different style, you can always click the Load Symbol Catalog button and browse for a different symbol catalog manually.

But did you know that CC3+ allows you to easily manage these catalogs and their content? For example, you can create a new catalog containing all your favorite symbols, collecting symbols from different styles and even map types into one catalog. In this article, I’ll guide you trough making such a custom catalog; for this example, I’ll be making a catalog that collects all the statue symbols from the various dungeon styles I have available to me. I often use statues as dungeon/floorplan dressing, and it would be great to have all of these available in one place. This catalog will mix symbols from different styles, so not every symbol in this catalog will work in every map obviously, but you can often mix symbols from different styles with great success.

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This is part 2 of the “Making New House Symbols in CC3+” tutorial by Sue Daniel. Read part 1 here.

Download the full tutorial in pdf format here.

Drawing the map file

Show all the sheets, set the snap grid to 10’ grid 2 snap, and copy the whole house to one side, leaving about 30 feet between the original and its duplicate. Zoom in on the duplicate, edit the label to show that it is the map file, hide all the sheets except the two ***Separation shadow sheets and delete the shadows from the map file drawing. Show all the sheets again and delete the chimney pots.

Using the change properties button move the entire map file drawing to the MAP FILE OBJECTS layer, and make the MAP FILE OBJECTS layer the active layer. Right click the hourglass button on the left and choose Move to Sheet, and move all the parts of the house as follows:

IMAGE ROOF – level 1 -> MAP ROOF – level 1
IMAGE RIDGE – level 1 -> MAP RIDGE – level 1
IMAGE ROOF – level 2 -> MAP ROOF – level 2
IMAGE RIDGE – level 2 -> MAP RIDGE – level 2
IMAGE ROOF – level 2 -> MAP ROOF – level 2
IMAGE RIDGE – level 2 -> MAP RIDGE – level 2
CHIMNEY -> MAP CHIMNEY BLANK

You should now have something that looks like this, with a white line defining each section of roof.

Using the change properties tool, change the fill of all the roof ridges and the chimney stacks to solid white.

Back when we aligned the fills and amended the automatic shading for the image file drawing, that amendment only worked for the textures. As soon as you change the properties of these aligned fill polygons to a solid colour the shaded polygons will show again and affect the blue and red values of the map file drawing, so we need to undo the alignment on all the parts of the roof that are aligned.

To do this make each of the 3 ***MAP ROOF sheets active in turn, and explode all the roof parts that are aligned on the active sheet (not the ridges or chimneys) so that the texture falls back to its default state. It is important to be on the right sheet for each roof part or the explosion may have unexpected results.

Open the colour palette and look at the top row of map file colours – the one with four colours in it.

The first map shade (178) is correctly set up for a north facing roof of standard pitch. Select it, and change the properties of the north facing rooftops to solid colour and shade 178. The second map shade (179) is set up for an east facing roof. Change the properties of all the east facing roof parts to this shade. This is how mine looks at this half way stage.

The third and fourth map shades are for the south and west facing roof parts respectively. So when you have finished changing the properties you should have a map file drawing that looks something like this.

And that’s all there is to it. The map file drawing is now complete.

Rendering the files

Create a new folder in the C:\ProgramData\Profantasy\CC3Plus\Symbols\User folder to be the home of your new house symbol. Mine is simply called “My Houses”.

Ensure that you have the 10’ grid 10 snap grid active and set to Snap, then use Save As… from the File menu, and pick Rectangular section PNG as the file type. Click the Options button in the Save As dialog and set the Width and Height dimensions to the dimensions you calculated for the render area rectangle, and which you should be able to read off the map. The filename you want is above the drawing.

Turn OFF the Antialias option.

Click ok and ok again, and when prompted for the first corner of the rectangle by the command line click on the bottom left corner of the rectangle around the map drawing, and then on the top right corner when prompted again for the second corner.

When this is done pan back across the map and do exactly the same thing for the image file drawing.

Making the background of both files transparent

Open the GIMP and go to File/Open and navigate to the My Houses folder where you saved your rendered images from CC3.

Open the image file.

Click the magic wand tool in the toolbox on the left hand side and make sure the Tool Options in the panel below the toolbox are set up so that the Mode is set to add to the selection, none of the boxes are checked, the Threshold is set to 130, and the Select by is set to Composite.

Then zoom in really close to anywhere on the left hand edge of the image by pressing CTRL and scrolling the middle mouse button, and click on the white area away from the house.

You should be able to see a black line down the edge of the image if you have zoomed in close enough. You need to click this with the wand, and also the white line right down the extreme edge until all the area that is not part of the house is selected in an area of ‘crawling ants’.

Go to the little thumbnail of the file on the right hand panel and right click it.

Select Add Alpha Channel from the drop down list, hover the mouse over the image in the main window again and press DELETE on your keyboard. This should entirely clear the background from the image file and leave a chequered pattern in view.

Don’t worry about the fact that the area is still selected. Go to the File menu, find where it says “Overwrite House 01.PNG” and click it.

Close the open file without saving it. You have already overwritten it with the new transparent version of the image file.

Select the wand tool and lower the Threshold setting to 50, then repeat this entire process for the map file, remembering to click the wand tool in all the islands of white in the middle of the map image. Make sure that all the white parts are gone.

Importing the new symbol

Go back to CC3+ and click the little button on the left under the Options button on the catalogue browser. There may already be symbols in there, but just ignore these. I have purged my own map of unused symbols just to make things a bit easier to see.

Open the Symbol Manager (menu item).

Click the Import PNGs button.

In the second dialog Browse to the My Houses folder in the Source folder box and double click on either of the files in the folder. The Highest Resolution should be set to 40 pixels per drawing unit, which is the default resolution for a city map. Check the Create other resolutions option and set the Symbol origin to the bottom right corner. Then click OK and wait for CC3+ to do its thing.

You will receive a short message letting you know that 1 new symbol was imported. Now check the view in the catalogue browser and scroll down to see if you can find your house waiting to be pasted.

And there it is.

Your new symbol has no specific settings, so you will have to manually choose the SYMBOLS sheet before pasting it to get the shadow around it.

You can carry on drawing and adding new house symbols in the same file until you have all that you want.

To make proper use of your new symbols you will need to make a catalogue of them. How to do this, and how to add the full functionality of a regular CD3 house symbol is covered in the Tome of Ultimate Mapping, and in part by a range of tutorials available from the sticky resources thread at the top of the Profantasy forum.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, and that you get at least one new house symbol out of it. If you have any problems creating your new house symbols please drop by the Profantasy Forum and let us know. Have fun 🙂

About the author: Sue Daniel is active as a cartographer and artist both on the ProFantasy community forum and the Cartographer’s Guild. There, she has won 1 Lite Challenge and 3 Main Challenges, and just recently one of the annual Atlas Awards for most creative map in 2017. She has produced many beautiful art assets for CC3+ (such as the “Sue’s Parchments” Annual issue) and mapping in general that are free to use for anyone.

Software required:
Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus (CC3+) with the City Designer 3 (CD3) add-on
A bitmap editor (The GIMP v 2.10 is used in this tutorial, but any editor will suffice)

You can download a zip folder of the three files that comprise the template for this tutorial called
“House Builder (basic)” used in this tutorial from here.

Download part 1 of “Making New Houses in CC3+” in pdf-format.

How CD3 house symbols work

Whenever we paste a house symbol into a map what we are actually pasting is a very flat image that probably looks a lot like this one.

CD3 symbols do not have roof shading. There are no ‘dark sides’ or ‘light sides’ in these flat-packed roof images, yet they appear on the map fully shaded the instant the symbol is pasted in the CC3 environment. So how is this happening?

CC3+ obtains information about the pitch and facing direction for each part of the roof by reading the colour coded message in a second file stored in the same location as the image, but which is never shown in the CC3+ environment. This second file has the same name as the image file, but with a “_map” suffix.

We need to make both types of file for our new house symbol, so to distinguish between them I will call them the image file and the map file respectively.

And here (below) is the symbol House 01 arranged in CC3 to show how the shading changes with the rotation of the building – all calculated by CC3 using the information contained in the map file, and adjusted to take account of the global sun setting and the rotation of the symbol.

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Adult Red DragonWe are happy to announce the full release of the “Token Treasury: Monsters“, our first release in a line supporting virtual tabletop software with ready-to-use artwork.

The Token Treasury line gives you a huge selection of creatures and characters to populate your maps, with frames and varicolor backgrounds to customise your virtual tabletop tokens. The art is available as CC3+ symbols and as PNG files for any graphics package such as Photoshop and GIMP. The Token Treasury is designed for use with any virtual table top software such as roll20, Battlegrounds, d20pro and Fantasy grounds.

The first release, Token Treasury: Monsters contains 118 creatures drawn by fantasy artist Rich Longmore, in rectangular and circular forms, as well as a set of token frames for depicting the creatures role in combat for your fantasy maps.

Add to Cart

Token Treasury: Monsters can now be ordered from the ProFantasy store. If you purchased Token Treasury Monster as a pre-release, the full setup files are now available from your registration page.

Example Token useThe full feature list includes:

  • More than 750 tokens, consisting of 118 creatures and 24 frames in various configurations, for immediate use in any graphics software such as Photoshop or GIMP.
  • Ready for use in virtual table top (VTT) application such as roll20, d20pro, Battlegrounds and Fantasy Grounds.
  • Frames for melee, ranged, magic and bosses to denote the creature’s role in combat.
  • A guide introducing you to the Token Treasury both within CC3+ and in other applications.
  • More than 500 symbols for use in CC3+ including the 118 creatures and 24 frames in 4 symbol catalogs, and templates and drawing styles for creating more token combinations.
  • If you own CC3+, TT:M also installs symbol catalogs, templates and drawing tools. Create custom tokens with varicolour backgrounds and add your own frames. Mirror the symbols to add variations.

Tokens in UseThis is the full list of creatures. Normal creatures are 300 x 300 pixels, large creatures are 600 x 600 pixels, and huge creatures are 600 x 900 pixels.

  • Angel normal
  • Ant Giant normal
  • Ape normal
  • Bandits Melee normal
  • Bandits Ranged normal
  • Barghest normal
  • Bat Swarm large
  • Bear Dire large
  • Beholder normal
  • Boar normal
  • Bugbear Melee normal
  • Bugbear Ranged normal
  • Centipede Giant normal
  • Cyclops large
  • Demon large large
  • Demon Prince large
  • Demon Small large
  • Djinni normal
  • Doppelganger normal
  • Dragon Black Adult large
  • Dragon Black Ancient huge
  • Dragon Black Young large
  • Dragon Blue Adult large
  • Dragon Blue Ancient large
  • Dragon Blue Young large
  • Dragon Gold Adult large
  • Dragon Gold Ancient large
  • Dragon Gold Young large
  • Dragon Green Adult large
  • Dragon Green Ancient large
  • Dragon Green Young large
  • Dragon Red Adult large
  • Dragon Red Ancient large
  • Dragon Red Young large
  • Dragon White Adult large
  • Dragon White Ancient large
  • Dragon White Young large
  • Drider large
  • Drow Melee normal
  • Drow Ranged normal
  • Dryad normal
  • Duergar 1 normal
  • Duergar 2 normal
  • Elemental Air normal
  • Elemental Earth normal
  • Elemental Fire normal
  • Elemental Water normal
  • Ettin large
  • Gargoyle normal
  • Gelatinous Cube large
  • Ghost 1 normal
  • Ghost 2 normal
  • Ghoul normal
  • Giant Fire large
  • Giant Frost large
  • Giant Hill large
  • Giant Stone large
  • Gnoll Melee normal
  • Gnoll Ranged normal
  • Goblin Captain normal
  • Goblin Magic normal
  • Goblin Melee normal
  • Goblin Ranged normal
  • Golem Clay large
  • Golem Stone large
  • Griffon normal
  • Hell Hound normal
  • Hobgoblin Captain normal
  • Hobgoblin Melee normal
  • Hydra large
  • Intellect Devourer normal
  • Invisible Stalker normal
  • Kobold Captain normal
  • Kobold Magic normal
  • Kobold Melee normal
  • Kobold Ranged normal
  • Lamia normal
  • Lich 1 normal
  • Lich 2 normal
  • Lizardfolk Magic normal
  • Lizardfolk Melee normal
  • Manticore large
  • Medusa normal
  • Minotaur normal
  • Mummy normal
  • Naga normal
  • Nightmare normal
  • Ogre Magic normal
  • Ogre Melee normal
  • Ooze large
  • Orc Captain normal
  • Orc Magic normal
  • Orc Melee normal
  • Orc Ranged normal
  • Owlbear normal
  • Pegasus large
  • Rakshasa normal
  • Rat Swarm large
  • Scorpion Giant normal
  • Shadow normal
  • Skeleton Melee normal
  • Skeleton Ranged normal
  • Spectre normal
  • Spider Giant normal
  • Treant large
  • Troll 1 normal
  • Troll 2 normal
  • Unicorn normal
  • Vampire 1 normal
  • Vampire 2 normal
  • Werewolf normal
  • Wight normal
  • Will o’Wisp normal
  • Wolf normal
  • Wolf Dire normal
  • Wyvern normal
  • Yeti normal
  • Zombie 1 normal
  • Zombie 2 normal

All Monster Tokens circular

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